The Australian Classification Board has denied Saints Row 4 classification under the "Guidelines for the Classification of Computer Games," acting director Donald McDonald announced today, making it the first computer game in the country to be refused classification.
After receiving the application to classify Saint Row 4 in early May, the board concluded the title "includes interactive, visual depictions of implied sexual violence which are not justified by context." Use of "illicit or proscribed drug use" as incentives in the game is also prohibited by the board's guidelines.
"Apart from today's decision, since the beginning of the year, the board has classified 17 games R +18 under the new guidelines," said McDonald in a prepared statement.
Australia's R18+ classification came into effect in January, prior to this it was one of the few developed countries without an R18+ classification for video games. The rating came into effect following legislation passed by both Federal and State governments. Games that had previously been Refused Classification could be resubmitted to the Board provided two years have lapsed since the original classification, since the introduction of the new rating.
Saints Row 4 will be released Aug. 20 in North America for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Windows PC. We have contacted the title's developer for comment and will update the post when further information is made available. Check out our in-depth feature on the game's rocky development right here.
Update: A representative from Deep Silver told Polygon that Saints Row 4 developer Volition is currently looking into ways it can modify the game for launch in Australia.
"Deep Silver can confirm that Saints Row 4 was denied an age classification in Australia," the representative said in a statement. "Volition, the developer, are reworking some of the code to create a version of the game for this territory by removing the content which could cause offence without reducing the outlandish gameplay that Saints Row fans know and love. Saints Row 4 has been awarded PEGI 18 and ESRB M ratings where fans can enjoy their time in Steelport as originally intended."